Monday, October 20, 2008

Denver, Day 2 or: You Can Actually Look at Beer After Last Night?

Surprisingly, yes. The previous evening at the GABF had certainly done a number on us, but after coffee, a bagel, and a trip to the fitness center in our hotel I was ready to, uh, get right back into bed to be honest with you. But the world's largest liquor store was waiting for us.

World's largest liquor store, meet the world's largest lover of liquor! Daveco Liquors is in the Guinness Book of World Records (Guinness appropriate) as being the largest store of its type. The square footage is mostly dedicated to wine and spirits, but the beer selection is formidable as well.

We bought some beer at Daveco but there was a gaping hole in the spot where the beer we were hoping to get the most should have been: Pliny the Elder from Russian River. Russian River had recently started bottling this Double IPA, and luckily for us had decided to distribute to Colorado. Things were looking bleak though, as we went to Total Beverage and found the same empty shelves. The guys from Boulevard Brewing were there stocking up as well, and I was worried. Many people had come into town earlier that week. Maybe they had bought all the Pliny in the state!

By the time we hit the second Total Beverage of the day I was beginning to hyperventilate. I was breathing into a bag from an empty Franzia Boxed White Zinfandel when I spotted it. Pliny! Where ya been all my life! We grabbed up all the bottles on the shelf (sorry, latecomers; it's a dirty game) and left to do the girly portion of the day: clothes shopping. I left her at Steve and Barry's and checked out a little liquor store in a non-descript shopping mall. It amazes me just how many liquor stores there are in Denver and how I always seem to find something worth buying that the last store didn't have. I picked up a four-pack of this year's Sam Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner from this place, a nice score. We headed back to the hotel to watch the Phillies game and catch a nap.

The photo pretty much sums up the night, which we spent at Falling Rock Tap House, or ground zero for beer folks in town. We were smart and arrived early while most people were still at the fest. Falling Rock, as always, had a stellar tap list. We had Odell's IPA, Poor Man's IPA and High Tide from Port Brewing, Green Flash Hop Head Red, and Blind Pig IPA and Pliny the Elder DIPA from Russian River. These were all enjoyed while meeting and talking to beer lovers from around the country. I talked to Don Younger, the owner of the Horse Brass Pub in Portland and so influential in the beer world that Rogue named a beer after him. I also met Jason and Todd Alstrom, founders of Beer Advocate. These guys have a newspaper column, immensely popular website, and the guts to start a beer magazine. I don't know how they found time for the fest, but they were there and were very cool. Also cool were Phil Snyder and Brandon James, who were in Denver representing Music City Brewers, the homebrew club out of Nashville. Phil had won the MCB competition and was having his Steam beer represented by Boscos at the fest. Brandon saw me taking notes on the beers I tried and offered me a taste of his. Not just any beer either; this was Isabelle Proximus, a wild ale collaboration from Avery, Dogfish Head, Russian River, Allagash and Lost Abbey. This beer isn't on the regular beer list either. It is from Falling Rock owner Chris Black's collection and cost $59 a bottle. And that is a fair price, considering that the beer can be found on Ebay selling for $200 or more!

I'd say we had our share of great beer that night, and by the time we left, the bar was so packed they were doing the one person in, one person out thing and the line stretched down the block. We were thankful that we had gotten there early enough to truly enjoy the beer and people at Falling Rock. Another great time in Denver and we can't wait to get back there next year!

No comments: